SBL Greek New Testament for Kindle

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UPDATE – this version has been superseded by the version available here.

I was overjoyed to find out about the publication of The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition, a new critical edition of the Greek New Testament with a very liberal license (“You may freely distribute the SBL Greek New Testament (SBLGNT), but you are not permitted to sell it on its own, either in print or electronic format”).

Thanks to the above license I am pleased to make available an experimental conversion of the SBLGNT to ebook format that I made (.mobi and .epub). This is only the text and does not contain the apparatus. (I’m not ready to tackle the apparatus yet, if ever.) Please report any bugs.

Although the text displays very well on my Kindle 3, viewing in the Kindle for PC app produced little boxes where some characters should be. I am interested to hear if this conversion displays properly on older Kindle models.

Behold the SBLGNT’s first convert.


Version 1.2 is my conversion, which features a table of contents and chapter breaks. Timothy Lee’s version features dictionary-like look-up of any verse based on the first three letters of the book (note: Philemon is phm), the texual apparatus and front matter.

Version 1.2 – – sblgnt.epub (Table of Contents, chapter breaks)

Timothy Lee 2.0 – sblgnt-timothylee-2.0.prc (complete with apparatus) – RECOMMENDED

Release Notes

2011-06-10 – Timothy Lee 2.0

2011-04-03 – Timothy Lee‘s version added

2011-01-11 Version 1.2 – added quick jump to chapters

2010-12-08 Version 1.1

More on the SBLGNT

Method of Conversion

  1. I started with the SBLGNT text in XML.
  2. Created XSL and CSS stylesheets.
  3. I applied the stylesheets with Mobipocket Creator to create an HTML file.
  4. I saved the HTML file as a DOC in Word
  5. Emailed the HTML file to my free Kindle email address for Amazon conversion.
  6. AZW file appears on Kindle.
  7. Connect Kindle to PC and edit metadata with Calibre.

35 responses to “SBL Greek New Testament for Kindle”

  1. kschaub Avatar

    Sweet, bro. Thanks.

  2. Dennis E. McFadden Avatar
    Dennis E. McFadden

    Does anyone have the apparatus for Kindle yet? The text is wonderful, but the apparatus would make it complete.

    1. drew Avatar

      Dennis, I’ve been told by a Logos representative that their conversion of the SBLGNT complete with apparatus should be coming out very soon.

    2. bill thurman Avatar
      bill thurman

      no such thing as ‘the apparatus’. say ‘an apparatus’. similarly: ‘the bible’ does not exist. almost anyone can do an edition & get it into print to make money from churchdom. uh oh. i see you meant ‘the sbl apparatus’?

  3. […] – Logos site SBL Greek New Testament | Michael W. Holmes – Michael Homes (Bethel guy who did it) SBLGNT for Kindle*|*kata Drew – SBL GNT for Kindle Dennis E. McFadden, Ex Mainline Baptist (in Remission) Atherton Baptist […]

  4. Tommy Avatar

    The reason for posting it on the Amazon store is that there is no other way to get Kindle books on the Kindle Android/iPhone apps (at least not that I know of).

    1. drew Avatar

      Hey Tommy, unfortunately I don’t think I’ll be able to get it into the Amazon store. I think SBL would have to publish it there. I cold publish it but as you mentioned it would be against the license unless I bound a bunch of other stuff with it so that the SBLGNT comprised less than 25% (or something) of the entire work.

      I hear from Logos that their edition of the SBLGNT for Kindle should be coming out real soon. Hopefully they’ll be able to put it in the Amazon store for free.

  5. Tommy Avatar

    The little boxes are a result of missing unicode characters, which could be a font problem (can you change the font on the Kindle for PC app?) or could be a result of the conversion process. I had the same problem when I did this with Tischendorf’s GNT, which still won’t display correct characters on my Droid (no Droid font supports the full range of unicode characters).

  6. Russ Herald Avatar
    Russ Herald

    Very, very nice. I was just starting to play with the xml when I googled a bit further, and found your blog. Great work, this.

  7. Tommy Avatar

    This is awesome. Is there any chance of publishing this to the Amazon store? You may have to charge $0.99 to do that (you used to), which might be against the open-license (it wouldn’t be against GPL3 provided you offered the source for free somewhere, which you have done here, but I’m not sure how that would work with the SBLGNT license).


  8. Ryan Avatar

    This is all well and good but without a lexicon it is of limited usefulness (for me anyway..). I have one, the middle LSJ and it is even selectable as the primary dictionary on the kindle, but unfortunately searching through it does not work. Has anyone gotten anything to work?

    1. drew Avatar

      Hey Ryan, perhaps it’s time to start reading Greek like a scholar, scholar. Have you seen this?

      Sorry. =)

  9. Adam York Avatar
    Adam York

    I am having the same problem with boxes in place of some characters using the epub version on Android (DroidX). Any thoughts?

    Adam York

    1. Joe Kearney Avatar
      Joe Kearney


      I was able to get (most of) the characters to display by replacing the Android operating system’s fallback font (“DroidSansFallback.ttf”) with the Gentium font ( I used the instructions here: Note that you have to have root access to your phone.


  10. » Blog Archive » SBLGNT for Kindle | kata Drew

    […] SBLGNT for Kindle | kata Drew. […]

  11. drew Avatar

    v1.2 now available

  12. Jesse Rose Avatar
    Jesse Rose

    Dude, you are the freaking man for putting this together. You made my evening (especially needed after a frustrating night of indoor soccer).

  13. Chris Conver Avatar
    Chris Conver

    I downloaded it and placed it in my Kindle app for iPad. It looks beautiful, but, yes, it does have the little boxes for missing characters.

  14. Scott Morgan Avatar
    Scott Morgan

    This is EXACTLY what I have been looking for to put on my Kindle. I used it this morning for my Greek NT reading, and it looks beautiful. Thanks a million, Drew, for the heavy lifting you did to make it available! And thanks to the SBL for generously sharing it with us scholar wannabees.

  15. Ounbbl Avatar

    For downloaded files of SBL GNT for kindle and e-pub, most accented characters are replaced by ? or square box. Do you mind going over the file to see how it can be fixed?

    Thank you.

    1. Ounbbl Avatar

      Somehow, it shows up all clean. Thanks.

  16. Timothy Lee Avatar
    Timothy Lee

    I came across this blog while searching to see what progress has been made on putting the SBLGNT on the kindle. I just thought I would mention something in case anyone was interested. I created a version of the SBLGNT for kindle that has an instant dictionary-like ability to look up verses. Actually it is a dictionary that has the book abbreviation and the chapter and verse numbers as the headword. This method removes all the formatting but it is worth it for the instant lookup. It is based on the text version of SBLGNT.

    Here is a link to my version of the file “”

    Also if anyone is interested I can make instructions available for making this sort of SBLGNT dictionary-bible.

    1. Dustin B. Avatar
      Dustin B.

      @Timothy Lee

      I was not able to get your link to work. Could you post another link? Perhaps that one expired.

      And yes, I was be interested in getting instructions for the SBLGNT.

    2. Dustin B. Avatar
      Dustin B.

      Oops, looks like Katadrew updated it at the top… Sorry.

    3. Edward Avatar

      Nice. Is there a way to use a Greek-English dictionary with this SBLGNT on the Kindle in the same way that one can use an English dictionary with usual English texts? E.g., if I move the cursor to a Greek word, the English translation appears?

      1. Timothy Lee Avatar
        Timothy Lee

        @Edward I believe I can answer your question. Here is what I know about language support for kindle. Basically the Kindle 3 is more or less script agnostic. It works with any script included in Unicode. However, as is the case with most Unicode fonts, the Kindle 3’s fonts only include certain scripts e.g. Hebrew characters display as a bunch of little boxes with question marks.

        As a side note I have seen some peculiar behavior when testing the kindle with Hebrew. Everyone once in a while a word displays perfectly. Also the kindle search engine can correctly display Hebrew i.e. when I search for an English word that is next to a Hebrew word then that Hebrew word displays correctly in the search results but goes back to being a bunch of little boxes with question marks when I click on that result.

        Anyway, the Kindle’s support for foreign scripts is even more limited because there is no way to enter text in any script but English. This makes it impossible to search for Greek even if the K3 search engine indexes the Greek. I don’t know exactly why but the dictionary doesn’t seem to work very well with foreign scripts either. There are a number of small improvements Amazon could make to make this possible. It would require adding support for indexing foreign scripts. I believe that would be a relatively simple thing to do since the mechanisms are already in place. Another thing they could do would be to add software support for entering foreign script characters i.e. a page for entering such characters rather like what currently exists for entering symbols. All that said, those obstacles are not final but it has seriously hindered growth of this market.

        I currently use a version of BDAG I created that has a transliterated headword index. There are legal issues with that though. My copy is legal but the work can’t be shared without support from the publishers. Who, I assume, would not recognize such a hacked-together work. But my copy does work very well. However I can’t look up words directly from the text and it doesn’t parse for me.

        There is also a problem with parsing in an inflected language. The Kindle’s dictionary format has support for inflected forms but it requires a great deal of trouble even for a mildly inflected language like English. The Oxford Dictionary of English and the New Oxford America Dictionary have good support for inflection but only because of the incredible job that Amazon and Oxford have done in making it.

        A system of Transliterated headwords works and I think that even that obstacle could be removed by Amazon relatively easily. Anything that would be useful for looking up words straight from the text will, i think, require a combination of the Kindle’s dictionary and app components. Something which, as I remember reading, is on the way i.e. dictionary features available to apps.

        Anyway, sorry to bore you but that is the answer. Until Amazon and the publishers get their act together there is not much that can really be done about Greek dictionaries. However if you do really want to have access to this information on your Kindle then the Perseus Project has a very good word look-up tool that parses and then links to entries in LSJ. It is accessible through the Kindle’s web browser. Here is a link ‘’

      2. Edward Avatar

        Thanks so much Tim this was very helpful.

  17. Phil Avatar

    Nice job. I’ve been struggling with a couple of different pdf versions of WH because everything else out there is missing the accents and stumbled on this post. Thanks much for making this available.

  18. Ounbbl Avatar

    Will you please change the font on this web page to a darker one? Why do you used a faint gray? Trying to exclude those who are half-blind? ;-<

  19. Tom Avatar

    Thanks! Excellent job.

  20. Joe C Avatar

    Hi Everyone,

    I was looking for the SBL for my Kindle and thanks so much for this resource!

    By the way, anyone looking for the SBL on a Droid can get that for free from Olive Tree Bible Software. if you look for KJV BibleReader on the Android Market, that’s a free app, and then if you look in Menu -> Library -> Browse Online Bookstore -> Free Books. Then hit Menu again which will bring up a search option -> search for SBL will show that resource, and you can download that for free. I really enjoy that on my Droid 1.

    Disclaimer: I do work for OliveTree, but I was a fan before I was an employee. : )

  21. […] na blogu Kata Drew znajdziemy dwa pliki skonwertowane ju? na Kindle (PRC) i jeden jako EPUB. Warto zwróci? […]